A Union County Jury convicted two Essex County men earlier this afternoon following a three-week trial, announced Prosecutor Theodore J. Romanow.
Rashon Brown DOB: 6/11/1990 of East Orange and Malik Smith DOB: 12/10/1990 of Newark were found guilty of 1st Degree carjacking, 1st Degree armed robbery, 2nd weapon possession, 3rd Degree terroristic threats, and resisting arrest. In addition, Brown was also found guilty on two counts of hindering apprehension, said Assistant Prosecutor Lucinda J. McLaughlin, who prosecuted the case.
The carjacking occurred on December 11, 2008 in Hillside, N.J. According to the investigation, a woman was sitting inside of her car outside her daughter’s apartment building when Brown approached the vehicle, brandished a handgun and he and Smith forced the woman out of the car, said McLaughlin. The two men fled the scene, and the victim was able to call police who were dispatched and located the stolen vehicle less than five minutes later in Newark, with Smith and Brown still inside.
As the officers attempted to stop the vehicle, both suspects bailed out of the car and ran in opposite directions with officers observing Brown with a gun in his hand. He dropped the gun during the foot chase, said McLaughlin, and was located a short time later hiding under a pile of garbage on a porch not far from where the car was located. Smith managed to escape but was identified following a police investigation and he was arrested a short time later, said McLaughlin.
The investigation was a collaborative effort by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Hillside Police Department, and the Newark Police Department.
The jury spent a day in deliberations before returning their verdicts. Brown and Smith are scheduled to be sentenced on June 8, 2012 before Judge Joseph P. Donohue.